23 November 2012
RenewableUK, the trade and professional body representing the wind wave and tidal energy industries, has welcomed today’s major announcement by the Government, committing the Treasury to providing the right level of financial support to allow a massive expansion of the renewable energy sector during this decade, generating tens of thousands of jobs.
After months of uncertainty, the Department of Climate Change and the Treasury are clearly working together, giving a firm commitment that £7.6 billion will be available for the renewables sector between 2015 and 2020. RenewableUK expects this will stimulate at least £40 billion of investment from the private sector, building up an industry which will be one of the UK’s biggest engines for growth in the future. This development of our home grown sources will also help protect the consumer against fluctuating wholesale prices caused by being dependent on imports, which has been the major cause of bill rises over the last few years. The announcement comes just before the publication of the Energy Bill which will set a clear direction and framework for the UK’s electricity industry. The announcement also stated that the Government will make a decision about a 2030 decarbonisation target in 2016, following the Committee on Climate Change’s advice on the 5th Carbon budget.
Maria McCaffery, RenewableUK Chief Executive said:
“This is a crucial announcement for the renewable energy sector. The news that there is rock solid support across Government for renewable energy, and clear evidence that Treasury and the Department of Energy and Climate Change are in step, provide the industry with exactly the kind of assurances we’ve been calling for. This blows the last few months of political infighting completely out of the water.
“This is proof that the Treasury really does get it – the renewable energy industry offers one of our best hopes for economic recovery. This will stimulate billions of pounds worth of investment in renewables, creating more than 88,000 jobs in wind, wave and tidal energy alone by 2021. It will enable us to hit our 2020 renewable energy targets, and make sure renewables can play their part in protecting UK consumers from unstable international power markets – we’ve seen over the last few years that the cost of imported gas has caused the bulk of energy bill price rises, and developing our own resources helps counter that dependence and vulnerability.
“The UK Government is sending a clear message that 30% of our electricity will be from renewable sources by 2020. The lion’s share will come from wind energy, with 31 gigawatts to be installed by the end of the decade.
“The Government also clearly understands that there’s likely to need to be a decarbonisation target for 2030. That’s great news, which will retain investor confidence in the long term. Those investors put £2.5 billion into the industry this year – this will now increase exponentially. Now it’s full steam ahead, so let’s get on with it”.
Support has also come from the Labour leader Ed Miliband, who said on Thursday, “If you want to have a successful economy in Britain today, you need to have a world-leading environmental policy because that’s where the jobs of the future are going to come from”.
Mr Miliband’s comments demonstrate the clean sweep of political consensus from all three major parties that the expansion of renewable energy is a priority for the United Kingdom. Cross-party consensus is necessary to deliver a strong Energy Bill, to enable us to generate affordable, secure low-carbon electricity vital to our economy, society and environment.